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Boxing Kontra Droga: Elorde brothers victorious in their WBO title fights; Japan-based Melligen loses to Rufino

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Juan Miguel and Juan Martin Elorde, grandsons of the late Boxing Hall of Famer Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, showed their skills and heart inside the ring that led them to victories in two of the fights, which highlighted the 15th Annual “Flash” Elorde Annual Awards and Banquet of Champions at the Manila Hotel on Wednesday night.

In the event that recognize country’s greatest boxers and also mark the 80th birthday of the late Filipino boxing legend “Flash” Elorde, both “Migs” and “Bai” Elorde rose to the occassion and lifted their WBO belts at the end of their fights in a room filled with Filipino boxing champions, fans and celebrities.

Juan Miguel “Migs” Elorde won his first title as pro as he dominated Tabthong Tor Buamas (14-3, 12 KO’s) of Thailand from start to finish, en route to a unanimous decision victory to capture the vacant WBO Asia Pacific super bantamweight title.

The 28-year-old son of former Southeast Asian Games boxing gold medalist Johnny Elorde was simply too much for his Thai challenger as he showed excellent hand speed and footwork to continuously beat Buamas to the punch. Elorde’s quickness and agility became evident in the early going as he was able to set up Buamas for solid combinations. In the end all three judges were impressed, and gave Elorde a shutout in their scorecards to give the super bantamweight star the vacant WBO 122 title. scores were 99-91, 99-91, 100-90.

“I’m very happy with my performance, especially to win the title in front of my family,” said Elorde. “I’ll take this performance as a challenge, there still a lot of things I need to improve for me to achieve my dream of becoming a world champion,” the new crowned WBO Asia pacific champion added.

This was Elorde’s eighth straight victory, and improves his record to (18-1, 9 KO’s), while the former Thailand flyweight champion Tabthong Tor Buamas drops to (14-3, 12 KO’s).

In an all out war, Juan Martin “Bai” Elorde retained his WBO Asia pacific junior lightweight title via unanimous decision in a thrilling 12 round slug fest against the very tough Hirotsugu Yamamoto of Japan.

It was a slugout right from the get-go, with the Japanese challenger keeping the pressure against the champion in the first round. In the second round the 30-year-old Elorde dropped Yamamoto with a right hook at the side of the head that outbalanced the Japanese challenger, which lead to 10-8 round for the champion. In the fourth round, Yamamoto was saved by the bell as power shots from Elorde found their targets at the final seconds of the round. The middle rounds of the fight could go either way in the judges scorecards as both fighters connects with their power shots. The seventh round was the best round for Yamamoto as he connected most of his jabs and slowed down the champion with his punches at the side of the body. The final rounds of the fight became a battle of attrition as both warriors gave their all and fought their hearts out until the final bell sounded.

In the end all three judges scored the fight 115-112 for the Parañaque City native, Elorde, who retained his WBO Asia pacific 130 title for the second time, and improves his record to 17-1-1, 7 KO’s.

“It was a tough fight but I’m very happy that I still successfully defended my title especially in front of my loved ones. This could be my last fight at 130 but I will still consult my family and team regarding that matter,” said Elorde. “This is for you lolo, happy birthday!”

In the main event, Vinvin Rufino (37-16-3, 16 KOs) of the Elorde boxing stable captured the vacant OPBF featherweight title with a technical majority decision victory against the Japan-based Mark Gil Melligen (21-5-1, 12 KOs)

The fight went to the judges’ scorecards as referee Virgilio Garcia stopped the fight at the end of the eighth round following the advice of the ring physician, due to a nasty cut on the right eyelid of Rufino that was caused by an accidental clash of heads.

It was a close and entertaining fight before the time of the stoppage, but the two knockdowns scored by Rufino on the early rounds became a big factor on the judges scorecards. In the end, the scores were 77-73, 77-74, 75-75 in favor of the 33-year-old Rufino making him the new OPBF 126 lbs champion.

Monico Laurente of the Elorde Boxing Stable won a 12-round unanimous decision over Marco Demecillo to retain his Philippine bantamweight title. Scores were 117-110, 117-110, 116-111

In other results:
Flyweight Bout (10rds): Giemel Magramo def. Jay-ar Estremos via TKO2 (2:42)
Super Bantamweight Bout (8rds): Joe Misako def. Jovil Maraya via TKO3 (2:11)

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2018 FIBA 3X3 World Cup

Chooks-to-Go President hopes to break PH Arena record come 3×3 World Cup

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Last October 27, 2017, Game Seven of the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals that pitted heated rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Meralco Bolts saw 54,083 people troop to the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan. The attendance broke all records for both the venue and the PBA.

Come June this year, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas and Chooks-to-Go are hoping that the upcoming 2018 FIBA 3×3 World Cup will surpass that record.

“We look at 3×3 as our best hope, really, to get a medal in the Olympics. Kami naman sa Chooks, we are behind SBP realizing that dream. Kanina pinag-uusapan na, if we’re going to break the record in attendance,” said Bounty Agro Ventures Inc. president Ronald Mascariñas Thursday afternoon during a press conference held at BGC High Street in Taguig.

“I think the question there is not if we’re going to break, but how many more times. Because FIBA should see how passionate the Filipinos are about basketball. That’s a given,” one of the patrons of Gilas Pilipinas added.

Besides the event itself, the local government of Bulacan has pledged to make the week of the tournament filled with activities to celebrate the Philippines’ 120th year of Independence.

For their part, Chooks-to-Go vowed to help out the SBP in organizing the event and in building the team.

“We are throwing our support not to improve on our finish, but we want to help SBP organize, to win the championship — not just to improve our ranking,” Mascariñas shared.

And the experience he and his company gained after backing the Pilipinas 3×3 team during last year’s tournament will only help.

“In past tournaments, we’ve lost some games na maninipis lang talaga,” he recalled about the team that was composed of Kobe Paras, Kiefer Ravena, Jeron Teng, and JR Quinahan that competed in Nantes, France.

“This time around, with five months to go, we need to organize and put in the best team to win the championship.”

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Football

Ilocos United takes leave from PFL

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Another one bites the dust

After months of speculation, Ilocos United formally announced its absence from the Philippines Football League for the 2018 season.
A statement signed by Ilocos Chief Executive Officer Tony Lazaro and posted on the club’s Facebook page broke the big news.

“Unfortunately, after months of negotiation, efforts to attract a new naming sponsor for the Team were unsuccessful,” the statement opened. “Consequently, it has become financially prohibitive to continue participation in the PFL.

“Primarily, the lack of broadcasting exposure in 2017 created an apprehension in the corporate community, cascading into a series of afflictions that has ultimately led to our withdrawal from the competition.”

Ilocos finished last during the inaugural season, tallying 1 win, 6 draws, and 21 losses with a -49 goal differential.

Still, Ilocos gave its thanks to those who supported the club during the inaugural PFL season.

“We are cautiously optimistic of a potential return to the PFL for the 2019 season, whereby secured broadcasting exposure will hopefully lead to higher confidence from potential sponsorship partners.”

While its PFL operations will fold for the time being, Ilocos will continue the grassroots programs it started within the area. ¨In the meantime, the foundation of football development we helped to build in Ilocos will continue, including grassroots initiatives at local schools, women’s futsal, Special Olympics, and, of course, the IUFC Academy.¨

The latest development will be another big blow for the young league. Meralco Manila pulled out of the competition beforehand and now Ilocos´ absence leaves only six teams in the competition.

Now more than ever, something needs to be done by the PFL or even the Philippine Football Federation to ensure the feasibility of the clubs and the league itself for years to come.

Football is a hard sport to build in the Philippines despite its resurgence since 2010. There aren’t a lot of corporate boosters for the sport which is in dire need of a financial push to sustain its growth.

Ilocos´ leave and Meralco´s folding now forces local football´s stakeholders to take a step back and examine the next moves to build the sport.

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Basketball

CJ Perez, Jaycee Marcelino in unison: D-League is a whole other level

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After falling just two games short to cop Lyceum’s first-ever NCAA crown, the Pirates went to the PBA D-League to gain experience. However, in their first foray in the second league, the Lyceans realized that it was a whole different animal.

Going up against the veteran-laden Marinerong Pilipino Skippers, the Zark’s Burgers-backed squad had a slow start as they adjusted to the tougher calls of the league. The Jawbreakers were down by as much as 17 points early in the third frame, 37-54.

“Yung physicality hindi naman ako masyadong nagulat pero sa mental toughness, yung pagod ka na, tapos may babanggga pa sa ‘yo, ang iniisip ko kailangan mas maging tough,” admitted reigning NCAA Most Valuable Player CJ Perez.

“Nangangapa kami nung una lahat kasi first game namin ito, pati dito sa court na ‘to first game din namin,” added Jaycee Marcelino.

It however served as a wake-up call. Adjusting on the fly, Perez and Marcelino rallied the Jawbreakers back — even having multiple attempts to take over the contest late in the game. However, they fell short, 92-94.

“Binalik lang namin yung laro namin dati, pass the ball, hindi yung puro dribble, i-run lang namin yung plays,” shared Marcelino as he and Perez combined to score 16 points in the final frame.

The 21-year-old Marcelino finished with a game-high 20 points on an efficient 7-of-9 shooting to go along with four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block while the 24-year-old Perez added 19 points, five assists, two steals, and a block.

With their first game in the bag, the two and the rest of the Jawbreakers now have this experience under their belts. And they plan to put in the work to prove that they belong.

“Sa NC naman kasi puro ka-level namin kalaro namin, dito puro beterano ang naglalaro,” said Marcelino. “Hindi talaga namin masabi na yung ginawa namin sa NC magagawa din namin dito.

“Mageextra work pa kami para masustain namin kung ano kami sa Lyceum.”

“It’s a good experience. Ibang iba pala talaga yung laro ng D-League sa NCAA,” expressed Perez, who is a consensus top three pick for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft.

“Sobrang grateful kami na nakalaro na rin kami sa D-League.”

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Basketball

Renzo Subido to bring Marinerong Pilipino experience to UST

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When Renzo Subido decided to skip out the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers’ UAAP Season 80 campaign, he had only one thing in mind: to improve on his craft. And he was able to do so under coach Koy Banal in the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers.

After the AMA Online Education Titans had a quick end to their campaign during the 2017 Foundation Cup, the 5-foot-9 floor general was immediately picked up by Marinerong Pilipino for the playoffs. Liking his style of play, he was again tapped for the 2018 Aspirants Cup.

And he showed a lot of growth from then, leading the Skippers to a 94-92 victory over fellow contenders Zark’s Jawbreakers. The 21-year-old tallied 20 points, three rebounds, and five assists while knocking down the crucial free throws to seal off the Lyceum-backed team.

“It was a good win for us. We’re happy that we won the game because it’s a good way to start the conference,” beamed Subido. “I’ve played against Lyceum in the past so I had familiarity with how they play.

“It was a good experience for us.”

Expectations are high for Marinerong Pilipino this conference as they are pegged as their blend of veterans and young guns are seen too overwhelming for the rest of the field. Still, Subido knows that it will be a tough climb as the other teams, especially the collegiate-based squads, have familiarity on their side.

“We’re taking it one game at a time but the goal is to win the championship,” he said. “But we know that it’s not going to be easy since we are going up against the top collegiate teams.

“So we’re just going to go all out every game.”

Besides winning the championship, Subido is on a personal mission. Being one of the seniors for the Growling Tigers next season, he hopes to learn to become a better leader for next season.

“I want to become a better leader. I know that everything I can learn this conference, I can bring to UST,” Subido expressed.

“For all I can see, coach Aldin [Ayo] is a guard-oriented coach. So I’m using all the experience I get here in Marinero, I’ll bring it to UST.”

For sure, Subido wants to make up for lost time.

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